Trolling for Cheap Candy
By Meredith Brody
When it comes to cheap American candy, I’m the bottom-fisher of all time: I’m a day-after girl.
The day after Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, I’m trolling the aisles of the big drugstores, scooping up bags o’ fun-sized treats, which are magically worth half (or less!) than they were just a few short hours before. (Oh, Cadbury caramel eggs, my seasonal crush.)
But this year I found myself at a Longs in Palo Alto the morning after, nearly speechless: the measly offerings were a couple of boxes of M&Ms, at $1.75 a bag. A friend picked up some peanut M&Ms, but I was too shocked to be a good consumer.
Was this a harbinger of the new economy? Had Longs ordered especially wisely and sold- out its Halloween treats? Or, on the paranoid tip, was there a more sinister explanation – ranging from trucks hauling Halloween treats away for warehouse re-sellers to some cabal among the candy manufacturers to scoop up the unsold confections and re-package them in autumnal Thanksgiving hues or Christmassy red-and-green?
I intended to visit another store on my way home, but torrential downpours changed my mind.
But yesterday I stopped in at a sizable Walgreens, across the street from the Berkeley Bowl, and sighed with relief: tons of bagged candy, piled high near the front of the store, clearly marked 50% off. I grabbed three bags – Kit Kats, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate (packaged in creepy little tombstones), and Nestlé’s Crunch– and was amused to see that they all rang up as 99 cents each, despite wildly varying weights: 20.1 ounces of Kit Kats (originally priced at $5.99, according to its label), 19.1 ounces of those tiny tombstones, and – hey! – only 8 ounces of baby Crunch bars.
But it would be churlish of me to complain, at these prices. At least I could scratch “candy manufacturer’s cabal” off my list of worries.